A shooting, stabbing pain that travels from your back or buttocks into the thighs, legs, and foot is called sciatica or radiculopathy. It can be associated with weakness or numbness in your foot and leg. The most frequent cause of the condition is a ruptured disk (also called a herniated disc or bulging disc) in the lower spine. In this report, we will examine disk problems of the lower back, also known as lumbar disc disease.
Table of Contents
Anatomy of the Lumbar Spine
The lumbar spine comprises the last five vertebrae of the backbone. The vertebrae are the bones of your spine. Their role is to protect and support the body, particularly the spinal cord.
The facet joints enable the vertebrae to be connected. They provide connections between each vertebra.
An intervertebral disc sits between each vertebra. The annulus fibrosus is the outer ring and will be the disc’s strongest aspect. It is responsible for connecting the vertebrae. The nucleus pulposus is the soft part of the disc. This material is accountable for its shock absorption properties and has about the consistency of crab meat.
The spine’s nerve roots carry signals involving the lower extremities and the brain that enable us to move our legs (motor function) and perceive sensations such as touch, temperature, and pain (sensory function).
To better understand how each other is affected by the parts of the spine, we must first focus on a spinal segment. A spinal segment is made up of the intervertebral disk between 2 vertebrae, and both nerve roots depart from that spinal degree, one from each side.
The discs have cartilaginous endplates at the bottom, and the top and are surrounded by the annulus. The fibrous tissue (annulus fibrosus) constraining the soft disc material (nucleus pulposus) can tear during degeneration or injury. This may result in bulging (protrusion) of this disk or even extrusion of disc material into the spinal canal or neural foramen. This condition becomes what is best known as a prolapsed disc, ruptured disc, or herniated disc.
Lumbar Herniated Discs
Among the most common problems of the lower spinal column are herniated discs. In this state, a tear in an annulus fibrosus enables the nucleus pulposus to squeeze into the spinal cord canal.
When a nerve root is compressed by the disk material, there can be pain, numbness, and fatigue in the areas supplied by the nerve (often down the rear of a leg). It is not strange for the back itself to be painless. Thus, a herniated lumbar disc characteristically produces leg and buttock pain but not back pain. This pain is termed sciatica or radiculopathy.
Numbness will often lead after the function of the nerve root is impaired due to compression. The subject of numbness is determined by the root and might be in the ankle, the heel, the big toe, the outer leg, or a combination of these. Impairment of the motor function of this origin will lead to weakness, which depends on the special root.
|Disc Level||Root Comp.||Weakness||Reflex Involvement||Sensory Loss||Pain Distribution|
|L3-L4||L4||quadriceps, tibialis anterior||knee jerk||medial knee and shin||anterior thigh|
|L4-L5||L5||extension of the big toe||no significant||big toe||back of thigh, lateral calf|
|L5-S1||S1||gastrocnemius (ankle plantar flexion)||Achilles||lateral foot and heel||back of thigh and calf|
In herniated discs, the L5-S1 intervertebral disc is involved 45 to 50 percent of the time, L3-L4 about 5 percent, and L4-L5 about 40 to 45 percent. Disc herniation at the opposite lumbar levels is uncommon.
In most cases, the nerve root that has been compacted is the one exiting the level below the disk.
But suppose the herniation is lateral (on the side of the intervertebral disk, as opposed to a central disk herniation in the center of the disk). In that case, the root compacted will be the one departing over. This is known as a far lateral disc herniation and occurs in about 3 percent to 10 percent of instances.
It’s also important to be aware that while the indications outlined in Table 1 (see above) are helpful in the identification and decision making regarding kind of treatment, not all of the symptoms and signs associated with a root might be present in a person, and multiple origin signs may even be present.
Additional Topics: Sciatica
Lower back pain is one of the most commonly reported symptoms among the general population. Sciatica is a well-known group of symptoms, including lower back pain, numbness, and tingling sensations, which often describe the source of an individual’s lumbar spine issues. Sciatica can be due to various injuries and/or conditions, such as spinal misalignment, subluxation, disc herniation, and even spinal degeneration.
The information herein on "Low Back Issues: Lumbar Herniated Discs" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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